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In 1893, Henri Moissan found microscopic particles of what is now known as moissanite in a crater left by a meteorite strike in Arizona. These particles were believed to be diamonds, but after further inspection, it was discovered that the particles were made of silicon carbide, not carbon. Moissanite is a stone rarely found in nature which means they are artificially made to mimic diamonds. Additionally, moissanite is grown in a controlled environment where they require no mining to produce and their origins are easily traceable.
The moissanite scale is similar to the GIA diamond color grading scale. Although the GIA’s scale does not officially grade this stone, jewelers will use it to communicate a stone’s color and clarity. There are three grades of moissanite available today.
The three grades include: colorless (D-F), near-colorless (G-I), and faint hues of color (J-K). D represents the most colorless diamond and as you continue down the scale diamonds get less clear.
Moissanite is not naturally colorless. Just like diamonds, moissanite ranges in color from clear to colored. Although most are labeled colorless, this clarity is created in the lab. Clear moissanite sells for more as they are not very common and available while rare natural moissanite has an almost yellow hue like a K on the GIA diamond color grading scale.
Moissanite can come in almost any color you can imagine. Stones can come in various shades of grey, green, gold, brown, blue, purple, pink, and yellow. And that is just a few of the most common choices. When buying moissanite, a fancy colored moissanite loose stone may be the best choice for your custom piece of jewelry.
Moissanite has very small inclusions that can be seen under 10x magnification. They are not visible to the naked eye and do not affect the clarity of the stone. Lab creation greatly reduces the number of inclusions and creates a beautifully colored stone.
There are a few things to keep in mind to further reduce the appearance of inclusions:
The larger the moissanite, the more noticeable the color. Therefore, it may be recommended to create a halo moissanite engagement ring. Choosing a smaller moissanite stone to be surrounded by smaller accent diamonds not only increases the size of the ring for a lower cost but reduces the visibility of inclusions. Additionally, choosing white gold or platinum for your moissanite ring will make the stone appear more colorless.
Colored moissanite is colored using a process called high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) treatment. This process allows manufacturers to apply fancy colors to stones that were too yellow to meet the needs of certain consumers.
During this process, the moissanite is put into a controlled environment with both extreme high temperatures and pressure. For fancy colored diamonds, they may go through the second step of irradiation, which exposes a gemstone to artificial radiation. The coloring that’s applied to the moissanite stone is permanent but requires gentle cleaning and repairs as it may scratch with everyday wear.
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